Americans don’t have a ton of trust in news media. Between the Republican Party’s decades-long crusade to smear mainstream media, the rise of Fox News and other radically right-wing media outlets (including Sinclair’s local news station takeover), and the inability of the news media to effectively counter Trump’s media manipulation, it’s easy to see how both Republicans and Democrats might be a little leery of corporate-controlled news. Combine that with bad actors using digital tools like Photoshop and AI to create sophisticated “deep fakes” and social media’s role in quickly spreading lies and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Of course, the news media’s own tendency to flatten nuanced stories into one- or two-sided narratives with slickly produced, easily digestible packaging is partially to blame. As news consumers, our own demand for attention-grabbing content and our inherent biases helps fuel the crisis of media distrust as well. We can all do a better job of being more conscious media consumers. To help navigate this new “post-truth” world, here are some photos that show how misleading some of the things we see every day truly are.